The Corner

Sports

UVa’s Victory and the Wisdom of Jay Nordlinger 

Virginia Cavaliers players hoist the championship trophy after defeating the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the championship game of the 2019 men’s Final Four at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., April 8, 2019. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Before an editorial meeting around the beginning of the basketball season, Jay and I were talking college basketball.  He asked about UVa and I said something like, “They’ll win 30 games and flame out in the tournament the way they always do.” If I remember correctly, he replied roughly, “Well, that’s true until it isn’t. You used to say the same about the Capitals.” And it’s true that I was beaten down and defeatist about the Washington Capitals every time the NHL playoffs came around, until they broke through last year. And now, the Cavaliers have broken through, too.

I abandoned my pessimism after the Purdue game, when it felt they had palpably gotten over the hump with a miracle finish. And the miracles kept coming. The final three games of the tournament, they trailed by three points with five seconds, one second, and twelve seconds left in regulation respectively. It was an amazing run, made all the more sweet by the historic defeat in last year’s tournament, which coach Tony Bennett handled with his characteristic class. They’ve been rejoicing in Charlottesville and for good reason.

Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

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